Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Friday, August 29, 2003
DPRK Preparing to Declare Nuke Weapons: US Officials
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) has told six-party talks in Beijing it is preparing to declare itself a nuclear nation and is contemplating testing nuclear weapons, US officials said Thursday in Washington.
The question from the Bush administration standpoint is "whether this is a serious and irreversible statement or part of their past pattern of starting every conversation by being threatening to see if it wins them something," said one official, asking not to be identified.
"Reports back to us from the delegation are that they (DPRK) said they were preparing to declare themselves a nuclear nation and contemplating testing," the official told CNN.
The official said the DPRK delegation also told the meeting participants that they had the means to deliver nuclear weapons.
"My understanding is that it was done in what our people called a somewhat agitated way -- in the context of their view that we are hostile toward them and this is how they plan to respond," the official said.
The official said he did not have information as to whether the DPRK delegation detailed any timetable for declaring their country to be a nuclear power or for possible testing.